How to and Why Test Your Lawn’s pH Levels
Ask the Doctor –
Your Source For Lawn Care Tips
John Buechner - August 18, 2014

You may remember pH levels from high school chemistry class. What it means is that an aqueous solution may be alkaline or acidic. Generally speaking, a number below 6 or 7 is considered to be acidic, and a number higher is considered to be alkaline. For example, lemon juice, which is considered to be very acidic, has a pH level of 2.2.

You may also be familiar with pH levels if you have a pool. It is important to test the pH levels – and adjust the aciditiy – in order for the water to be clean and safe to swim in. The same goes for lawn pH balancing. You need to test your lawn’s pH levels to make sure its in balance, if you want to have a healthy, green lawn. If your lawn is too acidic, or too alkaline, it will not be healthy or lush or green, and it may not be getting the nutrients it should be getting.

Why your soil pH level matters

So if you want to have a beautiful lawn, you need to test the soil pH levels on a regular basis, and adjust accordingly. The exact number for your soil’s pH level should, generally speaking, be around a range of 6.0 to 6.5 to 7.0, depending upon what type of turf you have for your lawn. A pH level below 6 is considered acidic, and a level above 7 is considered alkaline. The levels between 6 and 7 are considered neutral. You can talk with your Lawn Doctor lawn care professional about what is the optimum soil pH level for your lawn.

After finding out your soil’s pH level, you or your Lawn Doctor lawn care expert can help adjust the levels, if needed. A lawn that has too acidic soil can be adjusted with lime, while one that is too alkaline can be adjusted with sulfur. Applying lime can also help keep thatch from building up, as can sulfur. These two items can also help fertilizer work more effectively. In addition, adjusting the pH level can also keep your lawn from turning yellow, and can help the grass more readily absorb nutrients.

Also, keep in mind, though, that you should have the type of grass that is idea for your climate, and your area’s soil. If you do not, you will be fighting a losing battle when it comes to your soil’s pH level, and when it comes to having a lush, healthy lawn.

How to take a soil sample to discover your pH level

So to ensure that your lawn’s pH level is up to snuff, you will need to test it. Keep in mind that this is a soil pH level test, and not a lawn test. So you will need to get a soil sample two to three inches down that is free from grass, rocks, thatch and anything else but soil.  This area of the soil is called the root zone, and it will give you a good idea of the soil’s conditions. You should also take soil from multiple areas in your lawn, or have Lawn Doctor get the soil for you, to give you a better idea of the lawn’s health.

You can take the sample to your Lawn Doctor lawn care professional to find out what your lawn’s pH level is. After doing so, they can work with you on adjusting your soil to make sure it has the proper pH level.  Before you know it, you will have your lawn back the way you want it. Good luck.